Friday 25 November 2016

EU moves to counter Russian media

If EU parliament resolution to counter Russian media implemented, retaliation will follow – Moscow

FILE PHOTO: General view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg © Reuters

24 November, 2016

If an EU resolution against the Russian media is implemented, Moscow will take retaliatory measures, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated.

We hope that the resolution will not entail practical steps on curbing the work of the Russian media,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told journalists at a briefing.

There is hope that such steps will not follow, because the adoption of such a document caused massive uproar, for one, in the EU itself.

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If this document is applied and implemented to curb the activities of the Russian media on EU member states’ territories, then we will of course take measures in response,” Zakharova dded.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on a non-legislative resolution which urges the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia,” with RT and Sputnik news agency branded the most dangerous “tools” of “hostile propaganda.

The document shows “political degradation” regarding the “idea of democracy” in the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded, adding that while “everyone tries to lecture” Russia on democracy, Europe wants to implement a policy of restrictions.

Zakharova branded the document as “paranoia” and part of “the ongoing demonization of Russia,” adding that it is filled with “made-up messages, myths,” and reflects “the ideology which has been cultivated towards Russia recently.”

We have repeatedly declared that no anti-European propaganda is carried out from the Russian side. Russia is keen for the EU to be a united, stable, and predictable partner, with which we could develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation,” she said.

Philippe Leruth, President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has condemned the resolution saying that “harassment and demonization” are not the right way to “counter so-called propaganda.”

We believe in ethical journalism, self-regulation, media pluralism and media literacy to face it”, Leruth said in statement released by the EFJ.

The resolution fails to distinguish between political and terrorist propaganda and creates confusion, Ricardo Gutierrez, General Secretary of the EFJ also said.

It is irresponsible to equate Russian media organizations with terrorist groups such as Islamic State. It is irresponsible to mix up Russian media with Kremlin-controlled media,” Gutierrez stressed, describing the tone of the document as“worrying” and reminiscent of "the Cold War climate.”

Gutierrez noted that no one consulted the EFJ, the main journalists organization in Europe, while drawing up the resolution and that the EFJ “would have been pleased to correct some of the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the text”.

The only ideology and religion for journalists is commitment to professional and ethical standards,” said Nadezhda Azhgikhina, also drawing parallels with Cold War times.

We all have to do our best to resist any attempt to restore Cold War practices, which are the real threats for democracy and cooperation in Europe,” she said.

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